TANEYTOWN — Things are poppin' at Thunderhead Lanes here.
One tournament endstoday, a summer event just wrapped up recently and a tenpin tournament is under way that won't finish until next year.
The 1991-1992 Season Opener Duckpin Tournament, a singles event, began Sept. 22 and ends today. There's still time to bowl in the tournament, because the event starts at 10 a.m. and continues until the lanes close.
First prize is $350, and there's a $25 prize for the daily high game for both men and women and $50 for high scratch set. Handicap is 80 percent of the difference of average and 160 for men and 90 percent of the difference of average and 160 for women.
The lead as of Sept. 29 was held by Shirl Burras with a five-game series of 953; in second was Paul Barker with 897, and Dean Stultz was third with a 882 set. Burras had a high game of 171, and Barker had a high game of 204.
The husband-wife team of Bobby and Doreen Blizzard have to bowl as individuals in this event, and they're doing pretty good, too. Doreen has a high game of 150, and Bobby's high game is 189.
Shirl Burras, owner and operator of Shirl's Janitorial Service in Frederick, carries a 103 average and has a career high game of 182 and a high three-game set of 466.
"I just like duckpins," Shirl said.
Well, I guess so, when you're leading the pack in a tough tournament -- and when you've just finished ninth in the August Tune-Up Duckpin Doubles Tournament with your son. That's right, Shirl and Bob Burras Jr. finished ninth in the doubles tournament with a 1,049 score.
Doreen and Bob Blizzard live in Taneytown with their children Melissa, 15, and Bo, 8, and she carries a 115 average in the Thursday Night Ladies League at Thunderhead Taneytown. That's where she threw her high game of 194; her high series, 464, was in a tournament at Walkersville Lanes in Frederick County.
"Bowling is just a great sport," Doreen said. "Bobby got me started, and at first I hated it. Now, it's just great."
Bobby Blizzard has added the Saturday Duckpin Travel League to his two nights of leagues, the Thursday Men's Majors and the Monday Triples, at Taneytown. Right now his average is 135, and his high game is 235 with a high set of 526.
"I'm convinced thatI can compete in the Travel League," Bobby said in an interview earlier this year. "I feel that I have a good shot at carrying a higher average."
Dean Stultz and Don Bollinger took first place in the August Tune-Up Duckpin Doubles with a total pin fall of 1,099. That was good for $500.
Ruth Stultz, Dean's wife, cashed for $25 for the daily high game on Aug. 11 with a 152. Ruth has an average of 114 and teamed up with Dawn Grimes to finish in 29th place with a 1,010 score in the event.
Mike Spiegel and Bonnie Mossburg were second, while third place went to Larry Gregersen and Dave Noyes.
There were 182doubles entrants for the event.
Dean Stultz lives in Taneytown and bowls in the Wednesday Night Mixed and the Tuesday Night Mixed leagues; his average is 133 with a career high game of 224 and a high series of 511.
He shot a scratch 487 to help his partner, Don Bollinger, win the doubles. Stultz owns and operates Stultz Welding and sayshe's been "bowling a long time."
Stultz is a regular at local tournaments.
"Bowling's great, because the people that bowl are great," Stultz said. "Bowling with Don is great, because he's such a strong competitor."
Added Don Bollinger, "I like duckpins so much better than tenpins. Duckpin bowling is such a challenge. And I guess thatI just like to see those duckpins fly."
Bollinger keeps a lot of duckpins flying; his high series is a 557, and his high game is a 243off a 140 average.
Born, raised and still living in Taneytown, Bollinger limits his tournament bowling to the nearby area. This probably makes a lot of bowlers in other areas quite happy.
The Third Annual $2,000 Tenpin Doubles Classic, meanwhile, began Oct. 1 at all three Thunderhead centers -- Gettysburg, Pa., Taneytown and Westminster-- and continues until the finals Jan. 5 at Thunderhead Taneytown.
Here's a duckpin bowling tip from Joe Rineer:
Your target should always be a single pin. That goes for the first ball, the second ball and the third ball.
You will be a better duckpin bowler if you shoot at a larger target. Too many bowlers limit that target to asmall area. For example, they'll shoot for the relatively small areabetween the one and three pin on their first ball. Instead, take thehead pin as a target. (See graphic.).
Now, you're aiming at a target approximately 14 inches wide -- the width of a single pin and duckpin bill -- instead of two inches. That's increasing your target area to about one-third of the lane.
The same rule applies to spare attempts. It's not necessary to aim for the center of the pin; again you have approximately 14 inches to hit and still make the spare. On atwo- or three-pin spare shot, aim for the closest pin to you insteadof trying to place the ball between two pins.
Many bowlers think of the a spare shot as being to the extreme left or right of the center of the lane. It's not.
Half the width of the lane is about 20 inches. Since a single pin and your duckpin ball cover about 14 inches, if you will move to the side of the approach opposite to the location of the standing pin, you will increase the lane width in your favor.
Visualize the line you want your ball to take to the target area and concentrate until the ball leaves your hand. Remember, bowling is a mental game. Anyone who has ever thrown a ball knows that it is easy to do physically; the problems arise because of the mental outlook.
Always have a single pin as a target and your game will improve.